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never ran so high as when this tragedy was first produced. Yet it had the singular good fortune to please both Wbig anil Tory, wbo took every political allusion as compliments to themselves
Till factions strove which should applaud it most.” It was graced with a fine prologue by Pope, and a humorous epilo. gue by Dr. Garth, and supported by the talents of Bar!ou Booth ; whose performance of Cato raised him to the highest pinnacle of dramatic fame.
But, if this drama be deficient in the higher attributes that beloug to tragedy, it claims our admiration in many other respects. As a dramatic poem it is incomparable; there is nothing in the English language more elaborately elegant. The characters are distinctly, if not strongly, marked, and preserve the utmost propriety of diction. We refer more particularly to the council-scene, where the question of peace or war is successively debated. Syphax is a wild and original creation. His language ever and anon starts into poetry; and nothing can be more vigorously conceived and expressed, tisan the contrast be draws between “ Numidia's tawny sons," and the “sovereigns of the world." Criticism itself is dumb before Cato's soliloquy on the immortality of the soul. Apart from the pages of inspiration, we have nothing more subline and solemn-more calcalated to lift the soul from earth to heaven. It is said that Addiso!, at the conclusion of the fourth act, placed the tragedy in the hands of his friend Tickell (a most excellent man, and pleasing poet), with an injunction to supply a fifth; but that he resumed the subject, and completed his work. What a magnificent burst of poetry would the world have lost, had Addison adhered to his original determination. The life and death of this great poet were equally calculated to in. struct and benefit mankind :
“He taught us how to live-and, ob ! too high
The price of knowledge l-taught us how to die!” Tradition has handed down to us the rare merit of Booth in Cato. Pope, however, ascribes much of the applause lo certain auxiliaries independent of the actor :
“ Booth enters,--hark! the universal peal!
But has lie spoken --Not a syllable.
Calo's long wig, flower'd gown, and lacquer'd chair." Quin, the pupil of Bettertɔn and Booth, follower in this difficult character; and, after him, Sheridan A long pause then ensued, until the late Mr. Kemble revived this illastrious Roman in all his integrity and grandeur.
It were impossible to conceive a more majestic image, a countemance of more sublime expression, than this great actor exhibited in Cato. The character had engaged his decpest study, and he played it with an intensity, an entire abstraction, that can only result from the mind working itself up to the imagination of the poet, and abso lutely being what it represents. His costume was classically correct. Its simple elegance was weli calculated to display to the best advantage his noble figure. He exchanged “the flowered gown" for the Roman toga; the “ long wig” he discarded altogether, and was content to display the grandeur of his bust without the aid of that extraneous ornament. The anxiety or Cato to know whether his son
had fought bravely; his triumphant exclamation when he learns that he had fallen like a hero_“I'm satisfied !” and
“ Thanks to the gods! my boy has done his duty;" and his pathetic injunction
“Porcius, when I am dead, be sure you place
His urn near mine :-" were wonderful specimens of the actor's genius. The far-famed 80liloquy in the fifth act was delivered with a solemnity and power worthy of those heaven-inspired lines. Sir Thomas Lawrence has produced a picture of amazing beauty and expression, of Mr. Kemble in this scene. If it has not all the poetic feeling of bis Hamlet, it is a mure correct representation of the actor :
“ 'Tis wond'rous like,
Could make but once." How different is the statue of Kemble, by Flaxman, in Westminster Abbey ; in which little of bis countenance, and none of his dignity, are preserved. It is a complete failure as regards verisimj. tode and equally unworthy of the actor and the sculptor.
CATO.-Flesh-coloured dress-black Roman sandals - white Roman tunic-white kerseymere toga, edged with scarlet.
LUCIUS.-Blue Roman toga and tunic-breastplate -flesh-coloured legs, and black sandals.
PORCIUS.-Roman breastplate and lambrakins-scarlet mantle-flesh-coloured legs—black sandals-helmet.
SEMPRONIUS.-Blue Roman toga-flesh-coloured legs, and red sandals.
MARCIUS. -Ibid, with gray sandals.
JUBA.-Scarlet satin jacket-tiger-skin mantle-rich bracelets and coronet-flesh legs, and red sandals.
SYPHAX.-Black jacket-tiger-skin mantle – rich breastplate — scarlet sash — blue trousers — bow and arrows - - buskins.
JUNIUS.-Gray Roman dress.
SENATORS.-Roman togas-tunics-flesh-coloured legs, and black sandals.
FASCES, ROMAN GUARDS. Roman dresses.
NUMIDIAN GUARDS. - Turkish robes - white vests and trousers - yellow boots - turbans — cimeters and spears.
LUCIA.- White muslin dress, with white Roman drapery-tiara of pearls, and black bracelets.
MARCIA.-White muslin dress — drapery - black bracelets.
Cast of the Characiers at Covent Garden Theutre, 1824.
ORIGINAL PROLOGUE TO CATO,
WRITTEN BY MR. POPE, AND SPOKEN BY MR. WILKS.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
ich tears as patriots shed for dying laws;
Britons attend ! Be worth like this approv'd, And shew you have the virtue to be mov'd. With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdued : Our scene precariously subsists too long On French translation and Italian song. Dare to have sense yourself; assert the stage, Be justly warm'd with your own native rage, Such Plays alone should please a British ear, As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.